What is a Program Manager?

Program managerA Program Manager is a director who is responsible for coordinating  a group of projects in the workplace. Unlike a project manager, a Program Manager does not manage individual projects, but rather oversees different teams working on related projects. They understand the company’s overall goals and objectives and are responsible for altering individual projects in order to successfully achieve these.

What skills does a program manager need to be successful?

In order for a Program Manager to successfully coordinate numerous projects, it is vital for them to possess the following:

  • Leadership skills
  • A strong grasp on program management methodology and techniques
  • A good understanding of budgeting procedures
  • A good understanding of resource allocation
  • The ability to quickly identify and resolve problems
  • A strong foundation in project management and a fair amount of practical experience

What role does a Program Manager play?

A Program Manager plays a strategic role within the company. They are responsible for compiling an overall strategy (ie. A program) that will coordinate groups of projects. This strategy will allow the company’s goals and objectives to be achieved both efficiently and effectively.

Their role includes:

  • The efficient allocation of resources. Once the company’s objectives have been established, it is the program manager’s job to ensure that resources are allocated in the most efficient way.
  • The establishment of an overall budget and the breakdown and allocation of this budget to individual projects.
  • Regular reviews of the progress of individual projects and their impact on the overall program.
  • Coordination of the individual projects so they continue to operate in line with the company’s main objectives.
  • The immediate identification of problems within the program and the fast implementation of measures to correct these problems.

Within this overall strategy the Program Manager works to create plans for each individual project. This entails:

  • Setting immediate and long-term goals as guidance for project managers
  • Allocating timeframes for project teams to work within
  • Assigning tasks to individuals within the team
  • Determining a budget for each individual project

Program Managers may not be directly involved in the individual projects themselves but their meticulous planning and successful coordination of the projects allows the smooth running of the overall programme.


Posted in Project Management Basics.

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